Historiography at work

Historiography is the study of History.    It was one of my favorite mandatory seminars as a grad student at the University of Akron.

One of friends and cohorts here in Blog Land, raised a very interesting point in  a comment on how the Historians of 100 years from now would treat the scenario in rage now of the Great Republican Plan to Obliterate the Obama Presidency.    Obviously all of us reading this will have no interaction whatsoever in the future century.   Who knows how the History of our age will be preserved, or how it will be reported to future generations.    The History of the Present hasn’t happened yet.

The Trump-Obama factionalism is too multi-faceted to tackle here.   However, the question is a good one, and leads me to ponder the basic differences between Now and Then…meaning past and future coverage of historical events.     There can be two designations here: Paper and Digital.

The most glaring difference is that what was written, published, in real books is that they were permanent.   Not necessarily the absolute authoritative sources on a given subject, but through a sort of consensus of opinions and research, and yes credentials.   In order to reach a thesis statement for a given publication, the writer presented his or her own ideas….something new, an alternate position.   There are always at least two sides to any proposition.

Here is a proposal that when it comes to Digital History, that which is presented over the internet by countless diverse sources, the information comes across only as permanent as the print-out a student or proponent, or indeed, opposition commentator, understands—or prefers to present as Truth or Falsehood—to their respective readership at any given time.

Digital History is much easier to alter, re-write, or inadvertently  distort  because of its fluidity…never permanent, always subject to a myriad of changes.    We see reports on the internet news channels… a statement made by an anchor person on CNN or Fox, MSNBC, BBC…at a given hour—that never airs again.

No one in their right mind for long will be able to watch Cable News constantly to keep up absolutely on the stream of information.    Remember when the internet was actually referred to as the Information Highway?   That was back in the 1980s, when major newspapers made the change from individual typewriters to the chaotic stream of News-all-the-Time.   Up-to-date means “constantly changing,” which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

let’s not over-react (yeah, right…)

Scary news out of Virginia.    Too bad the shooter is dead…why is this always the case?   These people who kill other people are always a mystery, and it would be interesting and helpful to be able to hear what they have to say.   Normally such comments are suppressed, except for a shouted out inanity in a courtroom, or incoherent suicide note.

My old Journalist Hat comes out of the closet when some of these events occur, and too often the questions that I would ask… if I were doing the asking…never get asked.       What would these shooters say?    One would think that a perpetrator of such a criminal act albeit stupid and cruel,  probably pointless, would have something to say.    Oh, right, it is more than likely that if left to speak without restrictions…or to explain their motivation or explanation.

What goes through one’s mind when actually taking a rifle and shooting into an area of innocent people?     Is it madness that drives the crime?   Are they making a statement?   Thinking that they are proving a point?     Attempting to set the stage for some kind of mad-crowd riot?   Calling for confiscation of guns that kill people—or emphasizing the “right to bear arms?”

Unfortunately it is unlikely that we will ever know the shooter’s rationale for what he did this morning.   What we will hear, is speculation, interpretation, opinionated points of view…over and over.   The original account of what happened will be related in sound-bites and rambled on and on in talk shows, CNN Commenters assisting the rhetoric by presenting assorted factions’ “talking points” for incessant rehashing.      Sadly—the whole incident is like a  made-for-TV political presentation—complete with Party Politics, and frought with grandstanding and posturing.

This can’t be allowed to warp into a distraction from the investigations unfolding in Washington now.     How could it be more obvious that the honest and honorable committee members must put the Russia investigation on the fast track NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mad Magazine revisited…the return of the spies and good old espionage tales

 

 

 

Image result for Spy vs Spy Cartoon Characters in public domain
Illustration is from a selection of Spy vs Spy images that are in the public domain.

 

Long ago and far away…in the scheme of my life…Mad Magazine was the favorite magazine for satire and farce, and making fun of the Cold War—which actually was not at all funny, and jokes about the Russians (called the Soviets then) were much in vogue.   The world being divided pretty much dominated by two camps: the United States and Russians.   Us and Them.   The rest of the world was either with us…or against us.

The Free World—in which the benevolence of the U.S. supervised and kindly contributed to the rest of the world.    Our motto: we will help you and give you goodies like weapons and allow a great measure of independence and sovereignty—as long as you do what we say.    That includes voting with the U.S. in world organizations, and supporting our extensive military bases in virtually every country in the world.      This has two major purposes: 1. holding strategic locations in the world from which the U.S. maintains control.   2. We will protect you from the enemy—which is namely: The Soviet Union.  The old USSR—behind the Iron Curtain.

And so the present situation unfolds…and the position of good old Uncle Sam deteriorates under this virtual siege by an unstable, unknowledgeable, poorly educated minority in the United States.

God knows where it will all end.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing as grand as a royal wedding (a bit of British history)

http://healthskillet.com/stunning-photos-from-pippa-middletons-wedding/37/

 

One of my favorite bourgeoise extravaganzas has always been a Royal Wedding.      So when I followed the trail to a set of photos described as “photos you weren’t supposed to see.”     I usually do not like following the pointing arrows from photo to photo in this feature, but in spite of myself sometimes, they are hard to resist.

The Wedding of Pippa Middleton, who (for anyone stranded on the moon for the past few years)  is the sister of Princess Kate, wife of Prince William….who, in the scheme of things here is the son of the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles, grandson of the reigning Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.    Prince Charles is the heir-apparent to the British throne.

True, Pippa Middleton is not really a “royal,” nor is her new husband.    She might be called a “royal-in-law” possibly?     But for purposes of this post and on general principles, Pippa is close enough to qualify.

These photos are very enjoyable to look at…beautiful bride, cute and “real” children, and fabulous hats worn by all the women.

These photos are not the usual stiff and perfect photos with everyone in the wedding party,  including the children,  lined up like little soldiers…under orders not to move, cry, make faces, or get dirty.      Obviously just having royal blood in the veins doesn’t make serving as bridesmaids/flowers girls, or page boys, any less trying.   So these candid photos of the wedding party, the children under the herding of Princess Kate for the afternoon.    Riding herd on six little children is not an easy thing to do.

My favorite British Royal of all time was back in the 1930s and 40s when the King of England was George VI, and the young Elizabeth (now the Queen) was a young girl….and her sister Margaret were the princesses.    Princess Margaret was my favorite…she was about six years old (like me at the time) and she was always doing cool stuff like dancing on tables and what not, under the beaming eye of her doting father King George.   Whereas Elizabeth was already being prepared for succession to the throne, Margaret was not under the same rules and expectations of propriety and decorum.

…end of history lesson.

 

The tyranny of fear, reblogged from “420 ways to reach the sun.”

(Here is a new-to-me site I found yesterday. I really like the site, theme and layout, and especially the content. This article on the inconsistencies and idiocracies of politics and the “will of people.”   I really relate to what the author says., and the way in which she writes. I have written elsewhere about my personal experience with fear and sanitation of war back in the 1940s when young children knew all about the chances of surviving a nuclear blast and could discuss it sensibly. ( I will re-post my Me and the War next.)  Thank you, ginsberg420!   🙂

420 ways to reach the sun

The face of fear has no expression.

Heaving dreams are hard to realize in a world where being a pacifist is akin to being a “radical idealist”. I remember when my father called me that. In this entire political rhetoric of normalization of war, it’s the opposition that is demonized. It’s a tragedy to be 20 and deprived of the privilege of being naïve. Never mind the fact that he owns more than the rest of the country put together. Never mind his disregard for the value of human life. Never mind the heaving dreams he stepped on with a smirk in his head. Never mind his rage, his tyranny, his plutocracy, his fast flying drones. Never mind.

Growing up to the politics of war hasn’t been easy, but watching a hateful, angry plutocrat get elected as one of the most influential men in the world has shaken me. Not…

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Mad Woman (Still) Searching for Lost Things (2)

Previously I re-posted an article I wrote two years ago.    I haven’t learned much since, when it comes to finding lost things.

The issue with the lost books from my inventory continues.    Yesterday’s book was right where it was supposed to be.   However, I won’t get complacent, because many of my books are not where I expect to find them.   The thing about that is annoying, but usually ends up with the book being found without much delay.    Only once in the years I have been selling books online have I had to run to HalfPriceBooks and buy another copy.

The search now involves a rotary slide holder, filled with slides and stored in the original yellow Kodak box the tray came in originally.    These slides are part of a slide-show production I put together to entertain my university class in World Civilizations, specifically a   2-credit course required of all students.   The courses were specifically designed History classes in world areas such as Latin America, Africa, Middle East…and many others.   The classes were usually chosen by students based on the time-slot as it fit in with their other classes, rather than any particular interest in a world region.

My presentation dealt with Mexican archeological sites in Yucatan including  Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, and Tuluum.  Obviously the slides that I selected were the ones I considered to be the best quality.   Most had been photographed by my late husband, I might add.    There are about a hundred slides.    The search is on…and the good part of it is that I have so far cleaned out and rearranged two major room closets searching.    I have located thousands of slides…but not this particular collection.

Last winter I ordered a Digital Film/Slide Projector, and it is the best thing since sliced bread.    It is very simple in operation, you just put the slides in the contraption, transfer the images onto an SD card, which corresponds to a photo site on my computer.    Perfect…..not automatic, exactly, but it isn’t bad because I get to view all of my slides from a thirty year period.       An added bonus is seeing the family shots of 30-something grandchildren as babies.   The farm is well represented in photos going back to the 1970s, as well as multiple vacations during the subsequent years.

Back to the subject…searching for that slide tray.        The closing of two shops at a flea market and an antique mall about five years ago resulted in half of my book inventory and dollhouse miniatures and all-kinds-of-stuff  into my garage, and most rooms in my house.     About half of my book inventory of about 2000 books now (not counting my personal library of books which is more extensive,) is catalogued on online book sites such as Amazon, Alibris, Biblio, Barnes&Noble…etc.     I have culled the inventory excess to the extent that most of what is left is  saleable. … in theory.     Every one of these books is numbered sequentially and readily available….except, of course, those that insist on misplacing themselves.

Oh yes, the point is that I am in the process of publishing many of my slides on my blog, and some of my best are missing.     However, my slide converter gadget also does film strips, so all is not lost.   I just haven’t tried the film strips yet.

Voyager 2’s Golden Record… intercepted? or still out there?

For no apparent reason this morning I thought about the space capsule that went zooming out beyond our Solar System on June 16, 1977.      I have known about the “Golden Record” containing various information about Earth that space aliens might be interested in, assuming that they someday “find” the capsule floating around out there and delve into our characteristics.      The NASA Space Agency facility in Cleveland, Ohio used to be open to the public, and I visited a couple of times on field trips with Girl Scouts or school class groups.     I was especially impressed with two features…although there was an endless wealth of exhibits: our Sun, in an animated flaming ball complete with sun flares and other details; and the Golden Record on Voyager 2.

The thing that impressed me the most was that the United States’ choice of popular music at the time was Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode, also famous as featured at the “Under the Sea” high school dance, in the movie Back to the Future.      Not sure I ever knew much more detail, except that the compilers had included some Bach and Beethoven, chosen by some of the more grown up nations.

Included here is the Wikipedia link for those of us who would like either a refresher course in Voyager 2, or a deeper look into the contents of the Golden Record….which is, I believe, literally a well, golden…record.      There are all kinds of information about various countries of Earth, animals, humans (although NASA apparently got some flack about naked human pictures, so they used silhouettes.)    I love that there is a recording of authentic Navajo Chants, and an hour-long recording of someone’s brain waves thinking about “earth-things” including thoughts of love.  Also, the sounds of thunder and rain, birds, animals, and motor vehicles…uh, wind and thunder maybe, but a John Deere tractor?   (They didn’t specify the brand, that’s just me.)   Other humanoid species probably would identify with Earth nature sounds…but a rumbling bulldozer or whatever is a bit of a stretch.

This Wikipedia site is really good…pictures and easy-to-follow charts and symbols.    Here’s the link:     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_Voyager_Golden_Record

 

 

FYI about the Khan Sheikoun affair for open-minders, from the Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/syria-chemical-attack-al-qaeda-played-donald-trump_us_58ea226fe4b058f0a02fca4d

Even for readers who already have their minds made up owe it to themselves to read this detailed Huffington Post article by Scott Ritter, and to add it to all available sources of information.     Here is a great example of “Alternate Facts,” in a logical sense of being mixed information from different sources, that as a whole may lead to knowledge of what really happened in Khan Sheikoun.

There is a creditable “trail of misinformation” under the smug expressions of media reporters.   We can’t believe selectively here…this situation is important enough for followers to be informed and alert…research, research, research!

It really makes me wonder why many of the same pundits who daily attack Donald Trump as a liar and self-advantage seeker suddenly hail him as a hero—are we really a people who judge our presidents by their bully-characteristics?   Are we understanding the “America First” thing to mean “America As Boss of the World…Richer and Stronger and Meaner than any other nation?”

Cure for lagging respect and trust—bomb somebody.

 

Russian roulette and rhetoric

Every week we watch the TV show Blacklist, which is noted for its elaborate plots of spies, agents, good guys and extremely unlikely  situations.     Now there is a spin-off show, starring one of the lead characters in the original show.

Last night’s episode dealt with The Russians— new spies and situations, and one of the most frightening and far-fetched (maybe…) “plots” that were featured in the old days when the Cold War was at its height.    We all knew from a very early age that The Russians were absolutely out to get us…to somehow come to the United States and take over everything.     One of the most nefarious scenarios was—Sleeper Cells.

These were groups of individual Russian spies that were trained to impersonate Americans, and underwent elaborate training programs to guarantee absolute authenticity.  They drove American cars, sang American songs, ate American food…even birthday cakes!     They lived in mock villages built to duplicate American homes and movie theaters, schools and way of life.     Then, when the training was completed, these Russians-turned-Americans would actually move to the United States to set up “sleeper cells.”

These “sleeper agents” would then establish their new identities within American towns and cities, and live among the natural citizens indefinitely…until they were “activated” to do whatever it was that they were supposed to do.    Namely take over peacefully instead of resorting to violence and war.

Readers who have never before heard about the supposed sleeper-cell projects will no doubt scoff…snicker even…at the fanciful imagination of the Cold War Kids.    On the other hand, those in the “know” will experience the old familiar shiver up the spine at the mention of being taken over by enemy agents.   Like the old monster movies where the bugs grew to monstrous sizes and proceeded to devour us—unlikely but still scary.

This whole idea used to be reoccurring in movies, novels…even newspaper articles.    It became almost like Science Fiction…associated with the similar flicks featuring alien hordes that arrived from outer space in space ships instead of in metal ships or railroad cars.

Apparently we are about to enter another era where we live in nervous laughter at ourselves as we encounter terrible scenarios, worrying about new neighbors moving in next door… gosh, they LOOK normal!  Let’s take them a tuna fish casserole and see if they are surprised…

Well, I’m not about to judge anyone.   I lived through this stuff before, and will probably survive it again.     I have always wondered about Russians.   If they were to simulate the American-way-of-life, what in the world was their own life like?       It used to be our own government that went out of its way to scare the citizenry with tales about being infiltrated by “them”…the Russians.   What if they actually wanted us all to become Russians…would we get to participate in world domination?

 

 

Teotihuacan 1996 revisited

Wow!   Two promises in two days….      I checked out my Digital Film/Slide Projector for my pal Judy Dykstra/Brown over at Lifelessons, AND in the same swell swoop…or is it fell swoop?… found some of my ancient slides of ancient archeological sites as I had promised my buddy BadFish!

I will do a proper post about these pyramids  soon, right now the goal is to show that my old slides really can be  resurrected and restored by even ME…klutz that I can be even after thirty-some years of computer-practice.

The purpose of this post is to show the results of my test of my scanner converter…yes it works, and yes I love it!    It took me about four times longer than it should have, and I had a LOT of hassle getting the photos into the post.

No, that is not me up on that pyramid…no way.   It may or may not be my late husband, who went up part way.

These shots were taken in 1996 at the Teotihuacan archeological site near Mexico City.  This particular occasion marked the last time Bob and I went to Mexico together, although I made several more trips by myself.

These are not Aztec pyramids, but were constructed by the Teotihuacanos, who predated the Aztecs by centuries.    The city was a hub of commerce and trade that extended even down into what is now Guatemala.   National Geographic did a great magazine issue featuring this fascinating city.

There are hundreds and hundreds of photos of the pyramids.       https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=teotihuacan+pyramids&FORM=IARRTH&ufn=teotihuacan&stid=1a1f9c4b-ec11-aeee-db7b-def752eff0af&cbn=EntityAnswer&cbi=0&FORM=IARRTHds   I’ll check it.   I just googled Teotihuacan pyramids and got it.

OH yes!  the link works…many of the photos I looked at on the site have been taken much more recently.  There has been on-going reconstruction work at many of the Mexican sites for many years.

All photos were by Robert Dreger, 1996.   © Sometimes, 2017

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The Pyramid of the  Moon photo © Sometimes, 2017
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The much larger Pyramid of the Sun.
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A partially reconstructed Administration or residential Building.

a primer of selective History

Please open your books to page twenty-four
the teacher instructed, one morning …
look at the  ladies’ dressed in their finery,
feel free to smile at feathers and bustles,
and laugh out loud at the shoes!

Now let’s skip ahead to Chapter Seven,
where more ladies are seen at their work,
the clothing they wear is of buckskin,
embellished with feathers and beads (and pride,)
their raven hair in long silken braids.

Now the section titled “The Roaring Twenties.”
Days and years of lovely short-skirted ladies,
with bobbed hair and feathered  hats, called cloches.
They dance the Charleston, ducking the hit-men
who are ducking the likes of Elliot Ness.

The 1930s, when poverty reigned,
until saved by the richness and horrors of War.
The rich and beautiful, such as they were,
held on to their baubles and feathered their nests
as well as they could under the circumstances.

So now, we turn to the aftermath of The War
to the fiction-like era called The Cold War,
when living in spy novels was the norm…
and the games and palace intrigue surpassed
even the earlier times of the Kings…and Queens.

Now that we have closed the book of History
…a somewhat truncated collection of tales
that range from maybe to crazy-but-true…
we start or a new era which marvels
Alice’s Wonderland in scope and Fantasy.

In today’s time of making history…
a knowledge of the past is imperative.
If something of importance happens today,
it does not happen in a vacuum  at all
but is based on centuries of History!

So I leave you, boys and girls, with a note-worthy
suggestion….nay, a proclamation…
study your History from classical sources—
don’t depend on Twitter-twatter from pundits
who think History started last month.

© Sometimes, 2017
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circling the wagons…

keeping up with the shenanigans
leading up to the off-again/ on-agains
complacent in our political wagons
endeavoring to circle… Old-Western style…
made difficult by attempts to  mis-beguile
by conflicting opinions and factions

turning the political order on its head…
keeping promises to the rabid, illogical  crowd
flies in the face of common-sensical thought
due to ignorance of which they are proud;
defying the principles by which they were taught,
…the  cost with which our freedom was bought.

© Sometimes, 2017

 

they can do better than that

Day 13, 2017

As a long-time fan of spy fiction
I like to keep an open mind
and far be it from me to take a poke
at intelligence dossiers and spy reports
but it all seems to me a very bad joke!

Normally reading the details of a carefully-
teased expose…dragged across our nose…
gives fuel to the fire and facts to the tale
but when details sound to be suspicious
they usually are just as they seem.

The truth is sometimes hidden, for lack
of sufficiently shocking details (better presented
in a colorfully embellished story-form)
with salacious stories of sex and smut,
to present a more spicy distraction.

© Sometimes, 2017

ever wonder if all is really “but a deam?”

Day 9, 2017.

Dreams are still one of the great mysteries of life—probably will always be.     Thoughts are paths leading through the dim reaches of our sleeping brains, bringing joy and fright, often even in the same dream.     OK, I admit to having an affinity to Kermit the Frog, with his songs about rainbows and his “lovers, and dreamers…and me…”

Enough of that kind of nonsense, I suppose.   It’s just that my nature runs to the beautiful and kindly connected features of life in general and life-on-the-edge in particular.    Sometimes it seems that no matter how terrible the evening news gets to be, there is some sense of surreality that tinges the horrific details with fuzzy edges that lend a hint of humor, at least ridicule, that belies the other-worldy bizarreness.

Occasionally I will think of something, a conversation or place that I have been, and it takes awhile to realize that the incident had actually been a dream.     An example of this phenomenon occurred for me at the time of the 9-11 attack on New York City.   During the day the news channels were playing the footage repeatedly in which the second airplane hit the Twin Towers, flying into the side of the already burning building…like a Frisbee sailing toward its mark endlessly on a giant loop.

I had entered into a fitful sleep, having watched the 9-11 tragedy over and over all day.  Also, coincidentally a family crisis was evolving closer to home, involving my adult children who were present at the impending death of their father (my ex-husband,) in a hospital in Michigan.    More than once I got out of bed and turned on the television to reassure myself that it had been in a dream of my own that the jet passenger plane was slicing into the tower …but each time I checked my TV the horrific incident was happening again in real time.

A similar reality-dream happened to me again in November of 2016, when I was awakened by a dream on election night.  I had not waited for the final count to come down before turning in, but I did have a long and detailed dream about the election…but my dream did not reflect what really happened.    In the morning CNN came on with news that was the opposite of what I had been dreaming.

Every now and then the thought recurs—that maybe Shakespeare was right about
life and dreams and the interaction of the two concepts alternating in the realms of reality and make-believe.

Second Guessing myself…

Day 8, 2017.

Wow!  We are already heading into the second week of the new year.   January is the busiest month of the year as far as family birthdays count.   My late husband, two grandsons, a son, great-granddaughter, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law.  And that is just my immediate family, not counting at least one niece from my Florida-Clan.

I used to send cards with detailed notes in them, and even money.    Now that I am basically a poor church mouse, I’m lucky if I get a card out at all.   Oh, sure, there are electronic cards that are relatively easy to send, and I must say those are often very attractive…and they even sing or play music for the recipient.

My intentions are good, and yes, I do know what they say about good intentions.   I do at least think about people on their birthdays.

Unfortunately (I guess,) I am not really into Facebook or other social media.   Let’s not go into that here, with a wink and a nod to my excuse/reasoning that these venues cause a LOT of trouble.   E-mail was bad enough, always a risk for correspondents.

Blogging is my love, being a source of endless blank pages on the computer screen, beckoning with a promise that I can write/say almost anything about nearly any subject.  I write poetry, essays and diaries about the good old days…at least MY good old days.     My goal for this new year is to write something every day…or at least re-post something that I have written since my blog SOMETIMES was born.

One of the sweet things about blogging is that we tend to attract like-minded writers who more or less follow our work.   We enjoy each others’ photos, essays, and poems, and short stories.

One rule I set for myself is to write with care.   To me that means avoiding offending anyone, getting uppity with those who do not agree with me, or writing obnoxious or unsubstantiated  things.    Normally I rest fairly well assured that when I push the SEND button, and later when someone opens my post to read it, there will not be any adverse effects.    Sometimes (often, actually) what I write is intended to be humorous, though representative of my views and opinions.   Satire and sarcasm I use sparingly,  with care and judgement.

I have published 671 posts to this blog, Sometimes, as of a glance to my Stats page just moments ago.    This represents steady publications the last couple of years, and the total over the life of my blog since 2011.   I have deleted two posts that I recall, rewrote a couple, but most have stood as written.      I don’t think I’ve offended or insulted anyone, and I take great pains to avoid such writing.

My number one goal this year is to write every day.    Actually I do write daily, usually in a variety of diaries and notebooks…then transfer items to my blog.    Once in a great while I have misgivings about a post, and accordingly re-write it, edit it for spelling or grammatical errors…and for any questionable content.     It takes a few moments to go back in the pages and fix typos or mis-spellings, or to make glaring corrections of fact.

Yesterday I wrote one of my problem pieces, and have mulled it over in my mind since.   It is about the infamous Wall which has been proposed…whether actual or theoretical, our president-elect now owns this idea, and possibly feels he has an obligation to “build the wall.”.     My purpose was to post the link to photos of the existing wall between the United States southern border and Mexico.   The suggestions that were included in my post are facetious…tongue-in-cheek…sarcastic.   When I came to my computer this morning I fully expected (dreaded, perhaps,) some negative comments about my rather outrageous “suggestions” for extending the border.    Especially worrying to me are “guests” or browsers who happen-upon  what I write, not regulars that recognize snide…ok, snarky…sarcasm.    So far so good…